Eastwood Psychologists

Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA)

Welcome to our Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) Therapy Services for Children and Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). At our center, we understand the unique challenges faced by individuals with autism and their families. We are dedicated to helping children and youth enhance their communication, independence, play, social skills, and school readiness skills.

Specialized Services

We specialize in providing services to children with Autism (ASD) and developmental disability. Our approach incorporates a unique blend of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) therapy techniques, including Early Intensive Behavior Intervention (IBI), Natural Environment Teaching, and Social Skills Group Training.

Flexible Settings

Our therapy programs are adaptable to various environments, whether it’s our clinic in Brampton, your home, school, or the community. We proudly serve the Brampton, Mississauga, Caledon, Georgetown, and Acton areas, ensuring accessible Autism services for families in our community.

Expert Clinical Team

Our clinical team comprises highly qualified professionals, several of whom bring decades of experience in working with children and youth on the Autism Spectrum. We have two Registered Behaviour Analysts who serve as clinical supervisors; responsible for the work carried out by the rest of the therapy team. Our team of therapists are well-trained, highly skilled, creative, and able to truly connect with neurodiverse children in order to help them learn and grow.

Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA)

ABA is a scientifically proven therapy that focuses on behavior change. It can be used to teach vital new skills and reduce challenging behaviors that impact a person’s life. We use ABA primarily to help individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Intellectual Disability (ID) learn essential life skills.

Skills Taught Using ABA

Our ABA therapy programs cover a wide range of skills, including language comprehension, functional communication, conversation skills, problem-solving, eye contact, social and interpersonal skills, academic skills, self-help skills, play skills, and self-regulation skills.

Tailored Approach

Our ABA therapy is highly individualized, addressing each learner’s specific needs. We employ various strategies, including Verbal Behaviour strategies, Natural Environment Teaching (NET), Direct Instruction, and Behaviour Skills Training, based on ongoing assessments and collaboration with parents.

Verbal Behaviour - Unlocking Language Skills

As a parent, you’ve likely encountered the acronym “ABA” (Applied Behavior Analysis) while exploring early and intensive intervention for your child. But you may wonder: what does ABA have to do with language development?

Perhaps you’ve found yourself in a situation where your child knows colors, animals, and planets but struggles to communicate verbally. Is naming objects the same as “talking”? What truly defines “talking”?

Speech or Verbal Behavior:  The term “Verbal Behaviour,” defines talking as behaviour reinforced through another person’s mediation and focuses on the functions of language rather than word structures and meanings.

Unraveling Functional Relations

Understanding the functional relation between speech and the environment helps distinguish between language used for naming, requesting, asking questions, or having conversations. These may all appear as “words” but serve different functions. For example, saying “apple” can have many functions, seeing an apple and labelling it by saying “apple”, saying apple because you want someone to give you an apple, or saying “apple” as an answer to the question “what can you use to make apple sauce?” all include uttering the same word “apple” but each response has different functions or uses. ABA therapy can help a child discriminate between the different functions of language.

Designing Effective Language Programs

In cases where a child names objects but struggles with communication, it’s possible that only one function of the word is present, while others haven’t yet developed. By analyzing language through its functions, behavior analysts can conduct more precise assessments of language ability and design more effective treatments to teach functional language.

Beyond language development, ABA can be effectively employed to teach the following skills:

Social Skills

ABA can help children with autism improve their social interactions and build relationships. It can teach them how to initiate and respond to social cues, engage in reciprocal conversations, and understand nonverbal communication, such as facial expressions and body language.

Play Skills

ABA can facilitate the development of play skills, including imaginative play, turn-taking, sharing, and cooperative play. This is essential for promoting social engagement and building friendships.

Self-Care Skills

ABA can be used to teach essential self-care skills, such as dressing, grooming, toileting, and personal hygiene. These skills promote independence and daily living skills.

Academic Skills

ABA can help children with autism succeed in an educational setting by teaching academic skills like reading, writing, math, and problem-solving. It can also support the development of organizational and study skills.

Emotional Regulation

ABA can assist children in recognizing and managing their emotions. This includes teaching strategies for coping with frustration, anxiety, and anger, as well as understanding and expressing emotions in a healthy way.

Behavioral Management

ABA is widely known for its application in behavior management and reducing challenging behaviors. It helps identify the triggers and functions of problem behaviors and implements strategies to replace them with more appropriate behaviors.

Daily Routines and Transitions

ABA can assist in creating predictability and structure in a child’s daily routines, making transitions smoother and reducing anxiety related to changes in activities or environments.

Feeding and Mealtime Skills

For children with selective eating or feeding difficulties, ABA can help expand their food preferences, increase their acceptance of new foods, and improve mealtime behaviors.

Sensory Integration

ABA can be adapted to address sensory sensitivities and challenges often seen in children with autism. It helps individuals tolerate sensory input and develop self-regulation strategies.

Safety Skills

ABA can teach crucial safety skills, such as crossing the street safely, recognizing and responding to danger, and following safety rules at home and in the community.

Vocational and Life Skills

For older children and adolescents, ABA can focus on developing vocational and independent living skills, such as job-related skills, money management, shopping, and public transportation use.

Leisure and Recreation Skills

ABA can assist children in exploring and engaging in leisure and recreational activities, fostering hobbies and interests that can enhance their quality of life.

Cognitive Skills

ABA can target cognitive skills, including problem-solving, decision-making, memory, and executive functioning skills like planning and organization.

Flexibility and Adaptability

ABA helps children with autism become more flexible and adaptable to changes in routines, environments, and social situations.

Generalization and Maintenance

A key aspect of ABA is promoting the generalization and maintenance of skills across different settings, people, and situations to ensure that the learned behaviors are used consistently and effectively.

About Behaviour Skills Training (BST)

BST is an evidence-based teaching procedure that is part of the ABA toolkit.  BST is used to teach new skills to children and also to their parents.

The process of BST involves 4 steps:

  • Instruction: First, the therapist describes and explains the skill to be learned, including the importance of the skill.
  • Modeling: After explaining the new skill, the therapist models/demonstrates the new skill.
  • Practice: The individual is then given the opportunity to practice the skill (in front of the therapist).
  • Feedback: The therapist provides supportive feedback about what the individual did correctly and how they can improve.
At Eastwood Psychologists, we often use BST with teen and young adult learners when teaching social skills, adaptive (self-help) skills, assertiveness, and safety skills.  We also use BST with parents during parent training.  We support parents to deal effectively with problem/disruptive child behaviours.  We also train parents how to teach their children to use communication and play skills.

Dispelling ABA Myths

It’s essential to dispel some common myths about ABA therapy:
  • ABA is not about mindless responses; it fosters thinking and understanding.
  • ABA does not involve bribery; it builds on natural motivations.
  • ABA is not robotic; therapists use a natural tone of voice and approach.
  • ABA is not confined to a table; it occurs during play-based interactions and in the community.
Choosing between Home and Clinic based ABA therapy: For a comparison of Home and Clinic based ABA therapy please read Clinic-Based Therapy Versus Home-Based ABA Therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

At Eastwood Psychologists, we are committed to making meaningful and lasting changes in the lives of children and youth with Autism – ASD through Applied Behavior Therapy. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can support your child’s growth and development.